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Thursday, June 15, 2006

Who Labored For That Thing You Bought Today?

I've been following the above story, and stories similar to it, via the thirty-minute, nightly BBC syndicated and televised news.
The reports state that many of the products made with what is mined by the children ends up in the homes of Americans and Europeans, much of the merchandise being exported by China. What's in your house that was manufactured in China with its labor perhaps rooted in children?
The International Labor Organization, on its World Day Against Child Labor, said Child Labor must end. I wholeheartedly agree.

Unfortunately, the ILO is an arm of the United Nations, an organization I cannot trust to do anything in an honest, competent or unbribable manner.

The ILO does state something of which I agree:

But I must repeat, I would prefer any organization other than a UN-sister agency to accomplish the reduction and eventual elimination of worldwide child laborers.

From November of last year:

This is not childhood, not by any stretch of the imagination.

There are four million child laborers in the Philippines and 2.8 million of them are employed in dangerous jobs.

More than half of Cambodian children aged under 14 are being put to work, forcing them out of school...Most of the work is unpaid and in the highly dangerous agricultural sector...While the government has significantly increased educational opportunities for children, it has admitted that it cannot enforce its child labour laws.

Jesus Christ people...this infuriates me. Children are not mules to be put to work like this. I don't doubt for a second that mules would treated better! I know the only concern for groups like PETA is their myopic and precious concern for all animals, but they could be doing something far more grand on the scale of helping to fight against child labor.

Who is guilty of perpetuating their plight? All of us are. We want the most for our money and we want it at the cheapest possible price. Even at the exploitation of children.

Think about that the next time you're in Target, Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Sam's Club and all the other outlet and department stores. Yeah, sure, they tell us they do all they can to make sure their suppliers are not engaged in profiting from child labor. Somehow, hearing that doesn't make me necessarily believe it.

A decrease in child labor, the first ever, was reported at the end of May:

The largest numbers of children working are still found in Asia, where 122 million work, a decline of five million.

According to the BBC/OU:


So who labored for that thing you bought today?


What you can do:
Children's Rights/Child Labor

Children's Rights-Links

Stop Child Labor

Unicef: Stop Exploiting Child Labor

- - -

I debated over and over and over on whether or not to include the following paragraphs in what I wrote above. I deleted them and then I put them back, then I deleted them again. Finally, I decided to include them here. They are the concluding paragraphs of what I wrote above:

With this issue of child labor, we have the numbers crunched and verified. We can see it, the evidence exits, there is no doubt that it is a huge problem not only for the heinous way in how this exploitation mistreats children but how it affects all of us. It is real, it is defined, it is factual.

And on the other hand - and I suppose I'm going to catch some grief from some folks for making an intangible analogy, but that's never stopped me in the past - we have the Albert Gore jet-setting around the globe applying undeniable truth to so-called global warming, and he expects people to listen and believe his words.

You know, if Gore would have taken up the issue and cause of Child Labor, damn, I would have been right there with him. But then, Child Labor probably doesn't have the political and financial clout, and the cause-celebre, that so-called global warming does to carry him into making another bid for the presidency.

What I'm saying is this; so many people have misfocused attention on something as ambiguous and scientifically unproven as global warming, (if you don't believe that, please see this link: http://www.canadafreepress.com/2006/harris061206.htm), yet, on the issue of Child Labor, which exists, is proven and is identified, the most vocal voices on what should be a Number One Ranked Worldwide Issue and Concern are deadly silent.

It is a sad world we live in. We are the most prosperous nation yet we do little to try and stop the exploitation of children in other countries.

We have our sneakers made in Vietnam for pennies on the dollar by near slave labor yet pay $150 dollars for them. We have electronics made in China for little pay and long hours by children.

And this does not even get into the abuse children are subject to in these and other countries. Forced genital mutilation on girls in Africa, girl babies killed so that boys can be born, sickness, starvation, war… It is an ugly picture that needs to be discussed at least as much as some spoiled rich, bimbo stars new pet dog.

Thanks for posting this.
Hi Hatetaxes, thanks for the comments. I fully agree with what you wrote. The U.S. press and media really does seem to ignore this issue. I wonder what vested interest they may have in it??

They'll jump on this issue when they can also rip on a celebrity, like Kathie Lee Gifford, when it was shown some of the clothing line she endorsed with her name on it was being manufactured by slave labor. She contended she was not aware of it, and that may be true, my point here is not to point blame at her. But more the media for not covering this story, as you say, they way and manner that they cover some "spoiled rich, bimbo stars' new pet dog."

Thanks for visiting and the comments.
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